Day 036: Forays into the Field of Haematology
Summary: Meanwhile in Mount Weather, the first human trial is underway.
Date: 4 & 7 July 2016 (log took two sessions to complete)
Related: Follow Only Patients Are Allowed in Medical and Remarkable Specimens
Carlos Ruth Salvador 


Secured Medical Labs — Mount Weather
Past the blue-lit room filled with cages of Outsiders and the ankle-clips to dangle the latest blood-bag from the ceiling is this stark laboratory. With walls of rough-hewn rock, a concrete floor, and sharp, crisp lighting, there are no frills to the setting, but it has everything necessary for experimentation: medical tools, collection vials, a gurney with straps, and ominously, several drains in the floor.
36 Days After Landing

It's the Fourth of July, and celebrations are underway in the halls of Mount Weather. Preservers of culture, the colony of ex-colonists still remembers their Independence Day from a time when the Ground was more widely inhabited, and land still meant something, particularly to the many descendants of politicians who made it to the bunker in time.

The dinner halls are decked with red, white and blue when Dr. Montgomery returns from enjoying his meal privately with family, to find Ruth Mercer and tap her on the shoulder. "I hope you're enjoying your meal," he jovially says to her. "Would you see me in the infirmary later? Some sensitive matters that we need to discuss in private."

The infirmary is where he'll find her later, with a member of the security team on hand. Smiling, he unlocks the door to the off-bounds medical lab, waiting for her to step inside.

Ruth has been eating in moderation up to this point, likely due to the sensitivity of her injury, but it's as if she's been saving up her energy (and stomach capacity) for this particular meal.

"This food is incredible," she would have been overheard gushing to the mountain-born girl seated to her left, her spot somewhat segregated from the other delinquents. She may have started out seated by them to begin with, but she's been known to migrate often and easily during meals.

"Uh, yeah, Doctor Montgomery. Yeah, definitely." The answer she provided the doctor is offhand and generally polite, though she laughed then quite merrily at something said down the table before she leaned over and gave that individual her two cents. He was all but forgotten.

Later, though, she's sobered by the quiet of the hall as they make their way to the infirmary, celebration dimmed considerably by thick walls and the sound of three very different footsteps moving almost in tandem. "Thank you," she murmurs as she slips on into the infirmary before Carlos and Salvador. "Is everything alright?" She's not quite anxious, or if she is, she's doing a rather stand-up job of concealing it.

Carlos is standing there in the infirmary, quietly fiddling with the velcro strap of his leather SAP gloves. Despite the occasion, he's still looking as professional as ever while he's standing there near the doctor. When Ruth offers her thanks while the doors are opened, Carlos looks over to her with a nod as she slips in before he's stepping along and off to the side-lines, but very much still there as he's wordless and just watching, his right hand coming up to his mouth to try and hide a yawn that escapes through his fingers. When Ruth asks if everything's alright, Salvador earns a glance from Carlos. He's the muscle, not the brains!

"Of course!" Dr. Montgomery is playing the part of not only the brains, but the heart. He looks just delighted to see her as he waves her into the secured medical lab, leaving it to Corporal Vega to man the door. "You will recall that we spoke about the potential of allowing you to participate in upcoming medical trials?" He is, after all, doing her an enormous favour by letting her in on this secret. "I've spoken to Mr. Wallace, the President's son, and he thinks it is a marvellous idea. We are here to show you around and see if you have any questions before we get you started."

Either Dr. Montgomery's delight is contagious or Ruth has her own reasons for it. In any case, her own grin almost perfectly matches his. "Alright," she replies readily enough, her gaze panning about the room to silently document the tools the mountain as at its disposal. Like the other times she's been in the infirmary, she's impressed… though her delight this time is rather short-lived, quickly tempered by a pensive blink.

"What will these trials cover?" she wonders, gesturing with her hand between the pair of them. "Do you have in writing what we'll be doing this evening?" These questions are asked so casually that it doesn't even appear as if she cares about the answers, in all truth. Her eyes rest first on the gurney, then on the drains. "This looks… interesting."

"The only thing I write are reports," says Carlos, with a lopsided smirk as he looks over to Ruth. "Long, boring reports," he says before his hands come over to hook under his belt as he looks to Salvador after the question is asked. However, that glance is short lived before he's back to looking around, his right hand coming over to rub his chin. A look at the drains earns a thoughtful gaze from Carlos as he murmurs to himself. "I should shower later," he murmurs to himself, though loud enough for the other two to hear. Aside from generally not doing much at all, Carlos is looking at Ruth quite a bit. Watching, even.

More than happy to explain, and doing so in a manner that suggests this is the most normal thing in the world, Dr. Montgomery says, "We will be taking a small sample of your blood." He holds out his hands in front of him, showing what may be a measure of 'small', but looks more like a litre. "To begin with. And we will be replacing it with a comparably small transfusion, so you won't feel a thing. With your consent, of course." Because despite the armed guard standing nearby, and the uncomfortable looking straps on the gurney, surely, this is entirely up to her. "As we move up with the procedures, we will be more than happy to offer you the chance at a medical apprenticeship here, and you will have the opportunity to see the results of your contributions yourself. We believe that these forays into the field of haematology will prove very…" He turns, looking back at Carlos and mulling his hand through the air with a precise look in his eye, actively searching, and requesting his assistance in finding an appropriately grandiose word to finish his sentence.

Ruth's version of small isn't the same as the good doctor's version, but she doesn't interrupt him immediately. She wanders about the medical lab further, only partly turned from the other two. "A transfusion from whom? When did you test my blood-type?" Ruth's brows raise so high that they're almost concealed by her artfully arranged hair.

She hip-checks the gurney and uses it as a balance to thumb at the back of her flat shoes to adjust their fit. All the while, her eyes find their way panning between the two gentleman. "What are your hopes for these trials?" She hops up onto the gurney, offering up the inside of her arm to Salvador. "Let's get started." This is the attitude of a girl who has had blood taken before.

With Carlos on the spot there, he stares at Sal for a moment with pursed lips as he realizes that he was just dragged into the thinking. And after the moments of thinking, he finally comes up with something: "Useful?" he says with a shrug and furrowed brows. Carlos never was good with fancy words. When Ruth asks her questions, most of them are lost on the security officer who simply looks back to Sal before looking back, letting the doctor do the talking.

Salvador Montgomery, being cultured even for a Mountain Man, looks vaguely disappointed in Carlos Vega's offering. But he nods his head agreeably, only adding on, "Very useful," before turning his head back towards Ruth. The more questions the teenager asks, the more the good doctor starts to scrutinise her beneath those low-set black brows. "When we treated you, of course," he explains. "Your transfusion will come from what blood we have available. Rest assured, it is all tested, and undergoes rigorous checks."

Indeed, whoever the transfusion is coming from, they aren't here right now. It's just Ruth, Dr. Montgomery and Corporal Vega in this secured concrete laboratory. The doctor stands with his hands clasped behind his back as he watches the teenager hop onto the gurney, his clear-eyed stare intent.

Ruth's nerves are rather frayed, though likely not for any reason she can consciously pinpoint. The gurney she's seated on has straps affixed to it, there are creepy-weird drains in the floor, and there's a guard present; what's she going to do, beat Salvador's head into the ground? Not likely. He has a very valuable head.

"You didn't answer my question," she responds in turn, arm still held up and towards the doctor. His expression does little to unsettle her intent half-smile. "Also, go ahead and start the process. I'm easily lightheaded, so if I pass out for like two seconds it's fine."

Carlos is quietly looking between the two while he's stepping over to look over the gurney itself. "I'm not gonna lie, this thing is kinda creepy." he says with furrowed brows and a shrug before he stands back up and tall, looking over to Ruth. "And for your question…" he says- but then he seems to fall flat for a second as if he forgot. "I think a number of you had injuries, though some of you didn't. When we recovered you, some of you were short of blood- and so after testing your blood types we gained donors from our civilians," he says, "That's as much as I know, at the least," he says with a look to Salvador as well as a shrug, as he simply stands by and looks of the procedure. He's the guard, it's his job to stand around and watch!

Glancing over at the sides of the gurney when Carlos makes mention of it, Salvador pauses and admits in a humoured tone, "It is a bit funny-looking, isn't it?" Clear blue eyes sweeping its length, he settles on the restraints before straightening up, exchanging a look towards the Corporal, but ultimately leaving them untied. This is new territory for the Mountain People, using… volunteers. "We hope that by understanding the nature of the conditions that allowed you to survive outside for so long, we might be able to mimic the process for future medical treatments. Of course, if you aren't comfortable, we can always get someone else to help." He's moving towards a drawer, removing an IV tube, but looking towards Carlos still as he goes. "There was that… Tabatha Kinsey? Madelyn Petrie?"

Ruth listens to Carlos speak with a small tilt of her head, her eyes narrowed a fraction. "I was unconscious," she says unnecessarily. Her tone isn't quite defensive, but it's borderline. "No one told me I needed blood. I'd been walking okay, and other than the pain I didn't think I'd lost that much. If it did end up going that badly, who supplied it?" Her gaze darts between the two. "I'd like to thank them." Her manner of speaking is far too agitated for those words, so her general meaning becomes a bit muddied somewhere in there. She takes a deep breath as Salvador finally starts to prep, her fingers loosely entwined in her lap. "No." Her answer is simple, but firm. In this short answer, she's conveying that only she can help here — no one else. She's the one who is going to be a part of medical history. "We're already here. Let's not waste your time."

"Miss Kinsey may be willing to stand in, should Miss Mercer begin to feel uncomfortable," says Carlos with a slow nod and a lopsided smirk. "Mister… Reno Loden, I think it is? I think he'd also be inclined to assist in the procedure as well," he says with a bit of a shrug of his shoulders before he's looking down to Ruth. "In truth, I don't know who did in fact supply the blood. Just that blood was supplied," he says as he brings his right hand over to rest on his waist, looking over to Salvador as he retrieves the IV tubing.

Always the helpful sort, Dr. Montgomery raises his thick brows and politely inclines, "I'll check your chart." Later, he surely means, because for now he moves to prick the side of Ruth's neck with a needle, immediately covering the puncture wound with a piece of tape to stick across her throat. "This is very important work, Ms. Mercer. We are grateful for your assistance."

"Well, I know you wouldn't know," Ruth tells Carlos with a gracious smile. She's not trying to be condescending, but she evidently finds humor in Carlos — a guard — explicitly stating such. "Thank you, though. I appreciate it." As such, she doesn't exactly realize Salvador is going in for the throat until it's almost too late. "Whoa. Whoa!" She raises her hands to fend him off, looking him over with a bewildered furrow of her brow. "Excuse me. I have a perfectly good vein in my arm. It'll look awful on my neck."

Pulling back his hand, Salvador looks Ruth over with a quick glance, his cheerful expression falling a touch flat. "Would you like a sedative?" he suggests. "You can trust that I have done this many times before."

<FS3> Ruth rolls Resolve: Good Success. (4 2 8 5 2 5 3 7)

"No, what?" Ruth lowers her hands, the raised response more instinct than intent. "Of course not. I'm sorry." She seems to mean it, perhaps urged to by the floor drain in her peripheral vision. "Would it be possible next time to do this in a the main medical area?"

Salvador smiles tightly at Ruth's apology. "Of course," he says, with immediate, lackadaisical forgiveness in his tone. "The medical area was rather cramped, unfortunately. We needed things a little out of the way today." He's lying. Ruth walked through he medical area when they arrived at the infirmary, and while there were a few occupied patient beds, it was hardly 'cramped', given the Independence Day celebrations. Perhaps it was just too cramped for him. Without further ado, he injects the needle directly into her neck. It sinks in with a faint hiss of air, and stings painfully, if only for a moment.

"Gah." Ruth flinches at the insertion of the needle, but is otherwise still. She works to be as relaxed as possible, though neglects to lay back for the time being. She eyes him from the side, trying to make it seem as if she's not doing so. "I like your coat today," she says as companionably as she can manage. "Why are we here, instead of enjoying the celebration? Why did we not do this tomorrow?"

Tap tap, Salvador clicks the clock on his wrist with cleanly clipped fingernail. "I am a busy man. I like to do things in a timely fashion. But when you are done, we can return to the celebration. You will want to eat." Once the needle is in, fixed to her neck with tape, he screws in the tube and inserts it into a strange, metallic machine, one from which other, bent glass tubes flow into the walls. He raises an eyebrow at Carlos, silently warning the security team member to be on guard should their volunteer grow less voluntary with time. "Have you spoken with the rest of the Twenty-Three," for that is all that remains of the Hundred, "regarding these medical trials since we last spoke?"

"I'll likely be too tired to celebrate after, but I promise I'll eat something," Ruth grants him, her eyes crinkling a bit as she watches him hook the machine. "You seem well-prepared," she observes before she yawns, placing her hand lightly on the tube in her neck so she can shift to be more comfortable on the gurney. It isn't easy; it's not like it was made for that particular purpose. "What? No. Should I? If you need me to speak to them and ask if they want to volunteer, I can. I don't think any one of us can say blood makes us squeamish… even if it did before we set foot on Earth."

"How unfortunate," says Salvador, not without sympathy — even if it is of the ingratiating kind. "But no. That may certainly be helpful in time, but for now I wonder if you wouldn't mind being more discrete about this matter. I believe doctors Wolfe and Kirschenfeld may wish to explore further avenues before we proceed with that sort of thing. Some of your fellows, it seems to me, are having a hard time adjusting to Mount Weather. You were chosen for these trials in part because you have such an overwhelmingly positive attitude." Lavish praise from the doctor, who shows no restraint in expressing just how impressed he is with Ruth's behaviour. A cookie will surely follow.

As the blood slowly drains through the tubes and out of Ruth's body, she may start to feel a little faint, but is unlikely to pass out. On the brink of unconsciousness, a new sensation arrives, and now it may become clear why such an inordinately large needle was necessary to harvest her: she is receiving a transfusion, and blood is now flowing in the other direction.

Ruth would likely not turn down a cookie. She beams at his praise, though her smile grows somewhat slack as the process begins. "Oh." On any normal occasion, drawing blood results in a cold sensation, but this is something new. She is careful about leaning back onto her elbows, taking it slow so she doesn't abruptly do so later in the process.

"How is that going, by the way?" she wonders, speaking in an exhale to loose the breath she'd been holding. "Finding what remains of the fallen Ark. Has there been any success as far as you know?" She looks between both Salvador and Carlos here, though the latter earns a meaningful blink as though, finally, she's asking something that he might actually be aware of. Maybe she wants to make sure he feels included.

<FS3> Ruth rolls Alertness-1: Failure. (3 5 6 4 6)

"Corporal?" The doctor looks to Carlos, wearing the same tight smile as prior, inviting him to chime in on Ruth's question. However, he ends up answering the question on his own even so. "It is my understanding that Ground Units are patrolling as we speak. This is part of why this matter is so pressing; we are concerned that, should an accident occur, they will need a transfusion when they return. We have been expending all of our resources on your fellows from the Ark who are here, you see." This doesn't explain why Ruth is receiving an unneeded transfusion right now. She will start to feel tingly, even pleasant, as the sedative-laced blood of an unknown donor flows through her system. Where those tubes lead exactly isn't clear.

Montgomery takes a step back now merely to observe, his clear blue eyes filled with acute, scientific interest. "Do you agree to keep these trials a secret for now, then? With any scientific breakthrough, it is important not to overexcite the public before the numbers are in."

"They appreciate your generosity," Ruth says by rote when Salvador mentions their own sacrifices, her fingers tugging through her hair as she lays back entirely. "I'm not passed out yet," she says as if the good doctor can't already tell, her head lolling so she can watch her blood flow on away. She doesn't think to look at the blood entering her, at least for the moment.

"They'll owe me, then." She has an air of superiority, in this case, though it might not be well-communicated through her transfusion stupor. She has something of a stupid grin on her face. "The people from the Ark, if any of them happened to survive. They'll have my blood and if, like… any of them call for my blood because of me telling them later to give me what they owe me, I'll be like… you already have my blood. That's why I'm on you about this." She may or may not actually be talking to Salvador at this point, but she does snicker heartily at the proposed situation.

After Ruth's snicker, her speech starts to grow slurred and her vision grows blurred. Salvador stands off to the side, hands in his white lab-coat pockets with only his expensive yet old-looking watch visible on his wrist. Were Ruth more conscious, she would notice that it's running five minutes fast.

"Of course," says Dr. Montgomery, and then the rest is some meaningless drone in a bubble of sound. She passes out, and when she wakes up…

White. Everything is white again. She is in the infirmary, where Salvador can be seen milling about, as usual. By the overhead clock, it's just past twelve — evening or morning isn't clear.

Ruth doesn't awaken with a fluttering of lashes and a softly spoken 'hello?' Her disorientation is more keen, and so intense that it's all her body can do to keep itself from staying aback as she lurches to the side without warning and dry-heaves a wracking cough, not quite projectile vomiting but perilously close. Her eyes are half squinted shut against the bright fluorescent lighting, her normally pale face flush — since she's still able to blush, at least she's still alive. "Eden," she croaks, squinting about the room. "What? What happened?"

Realising that one of his patients is awake, Salvador Montgomery moves to Ruth's side with a patient step, whereupon he rests a hand on her shoulder. "I must thank you again for your assistance, Ms. Mercer. The trial was a resounding success." As he speaks, his other hand leans down to sweep up a small, empty bin, which he manoeuvres under her chin.

"Oh. Oh, yes. Yes, that's good to hear," Ruth intones automatically, clutching the bin with both hands to bring it closer to her person (or perhaps bring her person closer to the bin). Her jaw is clenched and her eyes are screwed up tight to fend off a wave of nausea. "We won't be needing to do that again, then."

Though there's a press of Montgomery's lips at Ruth's words, for now he take the time to focus on being a doctor, and not a research scientist about to lose his guinea pig. "How are you feeling?" he asks, leaving the bin in her hands as he draws a thin flashlight from a front pocket, with which to inspect her pupils.

"Right? How in-depth is this study?" Ruth opens her eyes to peer up at the doctor, taking deep and even breaths in an attempt to settle her stomach. Her fingers splay along the side of the bin, clutching it for dear life no longer strictly necessary after a few good in-and-outs. "I've been better," she admits, leaning back a bit. She's seated upright, at least. "But I think I'll live."

"More in-depth than one sample will allow," Dr. Montgomery admits. "But we can find another volunteer." After a quick check of her vital signs, he steps back, paging a nurse who soon arrives with food for the girl. "I am recommending that you stay overnight for the next two days or so. I'll make sure you have visitors, of course. After that, you should be good to return to your dorm unsupervised."

"Was I not good enough or something?" She's both low-key snarking and seeking approval at the same time. Ruth is her own breed. "How often are you wanting this done?" The question is offhand; she's more focused on the food, her eyes on the door until it comes. Then they're on the nurse. "Oh, you're a treasure," she tells the woman, claiming herself a hearty bite of bread once the tray is set down. "Thank you. What's your name?"

"Oh no, you were perfect," Salvador assures Ruth with a smile. "But this seems to be tiring you out. Am I wrong?" As approving as he's been, for the moment his manner is mildly dismissive — evidently displeased by her very fair reaction to waking up vomiting.

"Emily," answers the kindly nurse. Really, all of the Mountain People seem kind. She takes a moment to straighten out Ruth's pillow, so that the girl can sit more comfortably.

"Thank you, Emily." Ruth's eyes crinkle with a smile so big that it can't possibly come from a place of deep sincerity. Even sick to her stomach, she's forcefully ingratiating herself into Mountain culture, shallow amity and all. Only when the nurse has moved onto another needy patient does a needled (in more ways than one) Ruth gesture at Salvador with her half-eaten bread. "I'll have you know that I said I'm fine, Dr. Montgomery."

A cheeky, boyish grin suddenly overtakes the doctor's ageing face, and he raises up his hands. "Fine," he replies in turn, in his polished baritone. "In that case, I will later allow you to view the results of your own trial. For now, you will need some food and some rest." He sweeps two fingers indicatively at her food, and then turns to retreat into the medical labs.

Ruth gets comfortable against her freshly-fluffed pillow, watching the good doctor as he departs for the labs. Now that his back is turned, she feels free to let her eyes clench shut again in an attempt to escape the vertigo. After this last wave has passed, she gives her food a second look… and has second thoughts. For now, the tray is pushed away in favor of even breaths and perhaps a nap. It's been a gruelling ten minutes.

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